Latest News

September 24, 2014, 9:46 AM

Controversy continues to swirl in India over whether excessive spending by Air India on a fleet acquisition order in 2006 has led to its present financial difficulties. The clamor follows a book by former Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai titled The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper-Not Just an Accountant. The CAG acts as an independent authority established by the constitution of India to audit the expenditures of the government of India and its corporations.

An airline with revenues of $1.2 billion was asked to take on a debt of $8.2 billion [including pre-existing debt],” said Rai during a recent television interview. He credited former aviation minister Praful Patel for having ‘nudged’ Air India to increase the Boeing order from the original 28 to 68 denied the allegation. The government has given the airline a $5 billion equity infusion until 2021.

Air India’s order consisted of 111 aircraft—43 Airbus A320- seriesfamily jets and 68 Boeings, including eight 777-200LRs, fifteen 777-300ERs, eighteen 737-800s and twenty-seven27 787-8s.

Air India has been sliding—there is no doubt about itprobably [because of] certain decisions thatwhich were forced [upon it]…it has been pushed [into]…buying and selling of aircraft,” Indian aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pasupati said at a recently held press conference. “This does not appear to have been done with a commercial plan in mind.”

Air India has also drawn criticism for selling five newly bought 777-200LRs. “When any purchase has a debt portion of 97 percent, there’s no way it can be commercially viable,” said Rai. “Within five years of the 777s being bought, they had to be sold to Etihad for the price of one…at one-fifth of the price.”

Still, according to former Air India senior official Shakti Lumba, unforeseen market forces contributed to the 777s’ withdrawal.

In all fairness, Air India was never able to use these aircraft to full capacity as the market went down,” he told AIN. “However, the carrier got value for its money as the remaining loan is now being paid by Etihad.” Besides, he explained, the order got placed before the merger of Indian Airlines and Air India, and both airlines listed individual requirements. “The main culprits of Air India’s poor dispatch reliability were the 777s and 787s, with their constant breakdowns,” Lumba added.

Air India has already taken delivery of 17 of 27 Dreamliners. It expects the final delivery by 2016. On whether Air India appears headed toward divestment, Pasupati said no decision hasd been taken. “I do not want to stir a hornet’s nest,” he added.

 

 

September 23, 2014, 2:50 PM

NetJets announced today that it has been granted its air operator certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and can begin charter operations within the country, making it the first international aircraft operator to earn that distinction.

September 23, 2014, 2:40 PM

Airbus Group (née EADS) and Reno, Nev.-based supersonic business jet (SSBJ) developer Aerion announced a partnership agreement yesterday to collaborate on “technologies associated with the future of high-performance flight.” Under the agreement, the companies will exchange knowledge and capabilities in aircraft design, manufacturing and certification. In May, Aerion unveiled plans for the Mach 1.6, $100+ million AS2 trijet.

September 23, 2014, 2:38 PM

Approximately 300 pilots and other employees of NetJets took to the picket lines yesterday in a three-pronged “informational” protest outside the Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary’s Columbus, Ohio headquarters and at its bases at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and California’s John Wayne Orange County Airport.

September 23, 2014, 2:30 PM

J.P. Morgan’s September report on business aviation reveals “encouraging” but cautious data and analysis of the industry. While noting that U.S. business aircraft operations were up about 4 percent in August, and the used aircraft inventory “declined modestly,” its analysts still would prefer to see sustained improvement before rallying behind news of a recovery.

September 23, 2014, 2:26 PM

Aeroflot on Tuesday welcomed the first non-Russian pilot to join Russia’s flag carrier. Klaus Rohlfs, a German citizen, expects to make his maiden flight as an Aeroflot captain from Moscow to Prague on Wednesday.

September 23, 2014, 2:25 PM

In a mission years in the planning, pilot Barrington Irving departed from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport today in the Hawker 400XP that will serve as his flying classroom for educational tours of all seven continents. The first expedition in the aircraft, which has been dubbed the {{ITALICS}} Inspiration III, runs through November 18 and will include stops across North America and in both Asia and Australasia.

September 23, 2014, 2:20 PM

The first Embraer Legacy 500 is expected to be delivered to a customer in Brazil on Thursday, Embraer Executive Jets president and CEO Marco Tulio Pellegrini said today. The aircraft received certification from Brazilian aviation agency ANAC last month. Meanwhile, FAA certification of the fly-by-wire midsize is “imminent,” with this approval possibly coming later this week, he added. Embraer plans to deliver up to six Legacy 500s by year-end, Pellegrini said, noting that he has “high expectations” for the new model.

September 23, 2014, 2:15 PM

Inflight connectivity provider Gogo (formerly Aircell) announced that its new UCS 5000 router/media server is available, along with its Gogo Vision IFE package. Signature Flight Support is the launch partner for the new cabin entertainment system, which features first-run Hollywood movies, and updates automatically when the jet lands at select Signature FBOs, or at the operator’s hangar. Aircell announced the system at last year’s NBAA Convention.

September 23, 2014, 2:10 PM

Aireon, a joint venture involving Iridium Communications and Nav Canada, the country’s private-sector civil air navigation service provider, has announced a plan to provide free real-time global emergency flight tracking for any ADS-B equipped aircraft. The Aireon Aircraft Locating and Emergency Response Tracking service will be available to authorized search-and-rescue operations, soon after the completion of the Iridium Next satellite constellation in 2017.

Pages

 
X